This post is a part of the Pagan Blog Project. It is the first of two for the letter B. As you can see, I’m still catching up on the project because the second B post would have been due this Friday. I plan to publish mine later this weekend.
This is not a post about the kind of balance that is once achieved and then kept in perfect beauty. Instead, it’s a post about the kind of balance you might find in a seesaw: dynamic, ever-changing, and not necessarily entirely pleasant.
I used to wonder why I always had such difficulties replying to questions that asked about my “typical role in a group.” That’s because I don’t really have a typical role I assume in whatever kind of group I’m in. I don’t even have a typical role I assume in the same group over even a small period of time.
Instead I’ve found that I often assume any role that is currently lacking in the given group set-up at a particular time.
If everyone agrees all too readily with each other without even having had any kind of discussion/collective thought process, I am the one to bring about questioning and disorder. If everyone is fighting and setting up Us vs. Them dynamics, I am the one to build bridges, translate and find common ground. If everyone is holding back passively and indecisively, I am the one to take the lead, take on responsibility and make decisions. If everyone is blaming/scapegoating someone else, I am the one to defend that someone and try to make others see that person’s view. If everyone is being outwardly friendly to someone who has overstepped the boundaries, I am the one to bring the conflict out into the open. If everyone is calmly rational in a matter (also) that touches on other people’s emotions, I am the one to express these emotions (especially difficult ones like anger or hurt, but sometimes also joy and love). If everyone is being very emotional, I am the one to bring some rational analysis to the dynamic. If everyone is serious and perfectionist, I am the one who introduces play, laughter and the value of “good enough.” If everyone is glossing over imperfections and joking around, I am the one to call for order and earnestness. And so on.
In part that’s probably due to my nearly automatic habit to always assume a “different” position, often simply out of curiosity for what effect that will have. I like not doing what everyone else does. But then I never just start trouble for trouble’s sake, so I figured there must be some other reason why I keep shapeshifting my behavior and even my emotions according to the needs of the group I’m in. Eventually I began to regard this as a “spiritual” role I fulfill: adding what’s missing, providing a necessary counterpart, causing creative tension to achieve some greater good. In fact, I often do so at my own cost, because you don’t exactly win many friends by “always being so difficult, ” by “always making things complicated,” or by “never accepting anything without (initial) objection.”
Admittedly, this may be stretching the definition of “spiritual,” but I believe it is one of my “jobs” in this life to put this talent to the use of a greater good, often without even being conscious of it while it happens. I believe I’m serving the Universe by doing so, consciously or not, even if that doesn’t often result in peace and comfort or in having praise heaped on me in vast amounts. To me at least, that is spiritual – and it is another thought process in progress…